An investment company owner was sentenced to four years in prison for using his company to defraud an investor of approximately $1 million, according to a news release Thursday (May 1).
Michael Columbia, 27, of Scottsdale, Ariz. was sentenced today to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $2500 fine, according to a news release from Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.
Columbia was also ordered to pay $12,207,067.51 in restitution.
U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing.
U. S. Attorney Eldridge stated, “This defendant came to our state and swindled an investor in our area out of his hard-earned money. Columbia then diverted those funds to feed his own lavish lifestyle. “
He continued, “That is shameful and simply will not be tolerated in the Western District of Arkansas. Our office remains committed to investigating and prosecuting schemes designed to steal money from others in order to protect our community and our citizens from fraud.”
“Fraud schemes like the one perpetrated by Michael Columbia erode the public’s confidence in the free enterprise system,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge, David T. Resch.
He continued, “The FBI takes these matters very seriously, and today’s sentencing of Michael Columbia sends a message that fraud will be aggressively investigated.”
Columbia was indicted in August on suspicion of wire fraud and executing a scheme to obtain money through fraudulent misrepresentation.
Police said Columbia used his investment company to steal $1 million from a Northwest Arkansas customer by selling the customer’s bond without his knowledge.